Diamonds are a miner’s best friend

PARIS, Oct 4, 2006 (AFP) – A 603-carat stone found in Lesotho is the 15th biggest diamond ever found, the Gem Diamond Mining company and the government of the southern African state said on Wednesday. Some facts about famous diamonds:

Carats measure the weight of a gemstone; the unit is defined as a fifth of a gramme, (seven thousandths of an ounce).

An uncut stone will yield several cut diamonds, which may be more or less large depending on the consistency of the whole.

– The largest gem-quality diamond ever found, by far, is believed to be the Cullinan, discovered in 1905 in South Africa and weighing 3,106 carats.

Among the stones cut from it was the Star of Africa, 503 carats, which is part of the British crown jewels on display in the Tower of London.

– The Excelsior diamond, found in 1893 in South Africa, weighed 995 carats uncut. The biggest stone cut from it is 69 carats.

– The Star of Sierra Leone was found in the west African country of that name in 1972.

It weighed just under 969 carats and yielded 17 stones, the biggest of which is 54 carats.

– The Incomparable, weighing 890 carats, was found in the 1980s in what was then Zaire, now the Democratic